The Baltimore Ravens signed versatile offensive lineman Patrick Mekari to a three-year extension on December 30, per an official team press release, and he immediately earned a lofty compliment from Los Angeles Rams star outside linebacker Von Miller after their next meeting.
“He’s one of the best right tackles in the league,” said Miller of Mekari after the Rams’ January 2 game in Baltimore, per the Ravens’ Ryan Mink. That’s high praise coming from a seven-time All-Pro and eight-time Pro Bowler who also has Defensive Rookie of the Year and Super Bowl MVP trophies on his mantle.
Miller previously lined up against Mekari in the Ravens’ Week 4 matchup with the Denver Broncos before Miller was traded to the Rams on November 1.
“I played him earlier in the season in Denver, and I feel like he got my number,” Miller continued, “I was telling the guys all week that I’ve got a bone to pick.”
Indeed, Miller managed only two quarterback pressures in Week 4, his lowest total of the year, along with a season-low 65.0 grade from Pro Football Focus.
But he came in clutch against the Ravens in Week 17, recording two sacks and three tackles for loss, including a takedown of quarterback Tyler Huntley that all but ended Baltimore’s last-minute chance at winning the game.
Miller unleashed one of his patented ghost and dip pass rush moves on Mekari, tackling Huntley at the Ravens’ 30-yard line with just 19 seconds remaining in the game.
“To come out here and perform well and get a game-ending sack against a great opponent, it feels good,” said Miller, adding that the excitement from his teammates is “what you play the game for.”
Ravens Lock Down Mekari Through 2024
Mekari’s three-year extension is worth $15.35 million, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, with $7 million guaranteed and the possibility of earning an additional $1.5 million with incentives.
That’s an excellent haul for a lineman who went undrafted in 2019 out of UC Berkeley, but he’s clearly earned the payday with his contributions to the Ravens over the last three seasons. His ability to play all five offensive line positions has been especially valuable with rampant injuries and inconsistency in Baltimore.
“The beauty of the move is that Mekari could stay at right tackle for the foreseeable future or line up at any other spot on the line,” wrote Mink, “He’s a starter and super sub.”
While Mekari has played nearly 700 snaps at right tackle this season, he’s also played center and both guard positions for the Ravens in past years, with the ability to line up at left tackle in a pinch as well. He knows his versatility is a key aspect of his role in the Ravens offense.
“My understanding is that I’m still employed by the Ravens, and whatever they ask me to do, that’s my job,” Mekari said after signing his extension, per the Ravens’ Clifton Brown.
Ravens Head Coach, GM React to Extension
Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta called the extension an “easy decision,” adding, “He’s tough and gritty, smart, versatile and a five-position player who does everything the right way.”
Head coach John Harbaugh was effusive in his reaction to the signing, noting the “excellent value” Mekari brings with his multi-positional versatility.
“He’s one of the best guys you’ll ever come across,” continued Harbaugh, “He does all the things that if you’re a young player and you want to look at how to be successful in the National Football League.”
By extending Mekari, the Ravens give themselves plenty of flexibility heading into next season, with starting center Bradley Bozeman set to become a free agent and continued uncertainty around the future of injured All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley.